After reigning at the box office for nearly three months thanks to Spider-Man: No Way Home and Uncharted, Tom Holland encountered a foe that even he couldn’t beat on March 4: Batman. Warner Bros. unleashed the latest iteration of one of its most valuable characters with Matt Reeves’ The Batman. In a rare move, no rival studio launched a wide-release movie that weekend or the next, with all of Hollywood anticipating (and hoping) the Dark Knight can pump as much cash into the industry as his Marvel counterpart did in December. So far, The Batman has made over a half-billion at the box office, so the industry is once again on the road to recovery.
Besides Batman, there are other movies being released in theaters that target different audiences. This weekend, esteemed British character actor Mark Rylance stars in a gangster thriller while Ti West returns to the horror genre with a bloody movie set in Texas. It’s all part of an ongoing process that Hollywood hopes will get the box office back to where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most positive review: “Set in the one location, and driven by the script and performances, “The Outfit” feels like a play, but what could have otherwise been a minimalist potboiler is elevated by the cast, especially Rylance, who delicately carries the tale and tone, offering subtlety and nuance to contrast the brutishness of the men around him.” — Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
Average review: “The Outfit isn’t especially original, but it’s well-crafted. Perhaps shocking originality can come with [director Graham] Moore’s next film.” — Chris Barsanti, Slant Magazine
Most negative review: “The overall effect of The Outfit is something performed, rather than lived out, as if Moore were trying on a coat made for John Huston, and last altered by David Mamet.” — Robert Abele, The Wrap
Consensus: While not completely original, The Outfit is elevated by its lush cinematography and score and captivating lead performance by Mark Rylance.
Most positive review: “X is a clever and exuberant throwback to a less innocent time, when movies could be naughty, disreputable and idiosyncratic.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Average review: “The movie is funny – intentionally and in the right ways. West plays with tropes while at the same time honoring them. Despite having very little budget, he’s able to recreate the 1979 aesthetic with such aptitude that one can be forgiven thinking he found the movie rather than making it.” — James Berardinelli, Reelviews
Most negative review: “X…is an exploitation movie about exploitation movies. And while the gore is likely too much for those with a weak stomach (guilty), there’s enough satire baked into the premise, plus an effort to ground both the characters and the killings, that the film manages to weave some genuine audience investment in with all the jump scares.” — Zaki Hasan, San Francisco Chronicle
Consensus: X is one of the best-reviewed horror movies in years. Ti West’s slasher film delivers as much satisfying meta-commentary about cinema as it does gore.